Search Recipes

Our audience engagement ideas (or “recipes”) are listed below. Click the title of the Recipe in order to view the full entry, which will give you concrete information–submitted by your peers–for considering trying the strategy yourself.

Peer Audience Ambassadors Program: TU Dance

TU Dance used this grant opportunity to empower youth to orient the adults in their lives to dance culture. It supported a series of events including; bringing youth to a cultural awareness training, youth conducting interviews about adult participant’s views of dance and dance audiences, attending the performance and finally a debrief session with the youth to discuss what they discovered about the adults in their lives and about themselves in the process. A total of 22 students participated in the program through completion. These young people originally identified 112 adult participants. We proposed that each youth ambassador engage 4-6 adults. Among the 22 youth who completed the project, 70% of them engaged 5 adult participants. Building new audiences for dance was an additional project focus; a total of 82% of the young ambassadors were able to engage at least 2 adult participants who had never before attended a professional dance performance.

Art Forward: Cleo Parker Robinson DanceArt Forward: Cleo Parker Robinson Dance

All too often, our media devices alert our attention to calamities or tragedies of varying degrees. In many cases, our humanity is moved to respond or reacts to these events with the intention to restore a sense normalcy. Within the creative sector, cultural workers have responded to these types of flashpoints with powerful artworks that at times memorialize the loss of life as we have experienced with Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina and Pulse Nightclub in Florida. Other times, the artwork developed as a form of backlash to hotbed social issues like police brutality, homelessness, gang violence, domestic violence and gentrification. In each of these instances, the cultural worker draws on insights to inspire a different set of possibilities that may prevent or minimize similar adverse events from occurring again. In an age where opportunities for rapid response acts of solidarity are more frequent, ArtFwd proposes a more forward thinking approach to shaping the future we want for our communities. ArtFwd will convene thought leaders culled from various sectors to work in collaboration with the CPRD creative team to forecast signals for dissonance and plan the proper time and place for an artburst – an infusion of creative expression. Equipped with expert insight, foresight and artistry, ArtFwd will assess different scenarios to help inform creative content for the appropriately placed artburst. Artbursts may occur at the CPRD Creative Arts Campus or other points of interest throughout the city. Each artburst will feature original choreographed movement, spoken word and music performed by the CPRD Ensemble.

Sabor Sessions: CONTRA TIEMPOSabor Sessions: CONTRA TIEMPO

For Sabor Sessions: Two teaching artists introduce themselves and engage participants in a series of call-and-response warm up games. Then the teaching artists begin introducing the history and basic steps of a dance form (Salsa, Salsa Rueda, Hip-Hop, House, or Afro-Cuban). Participants dance, either learning a simple combination or moving across the floor following the teacher. The class typically ends in either a cypher or a series of common “line dances,” depending on the energy and people in the room. Teaching artists are trained to do a “temperature read” of the room, at least at the start and middle of class, to assess whether to continue with the plan, or move into a more unstructured plan. Some Sabor Sessions end with food sharing and conversation, depending on what the participants the previous week asked for.

Cultural Scripts Round 2: Heritage Works

Cultural Scripts Round 2: Heritage Works

Cultural Scripts, a Heritage Works’ project of dance and dialogue, engages the people of metro Detroit in the exploration of cultural traditions, normalcy, identity, and empowerment via cultural traditions. Cultural Scripts brings renowned choreographers to Detroit, all grounded in a specific cultural background while also pushing creative and cultural boundaries. Each of these artists progresses through three sets of activities: 1) Discovery Dialogues (i.e., dance or story-based conversations); 2) New Work Creation; & 3) Performances & Talk Backs. These activities aimed to transform each person, and the region, by intentionally engaging participants at each phase.

Every Body Move (EBM): CABD INC

Every Body Move (EBM): CABD INC

Built on our belief that social dance works as a powerful tool for social change, EBM brings the artistic rigor of Camille A. Brown & Dancers’ beyond the stage and into communities. EBM works to cultivate the creative capacity of its participants through innovative workshops, summer intensives, artistic encounters, educational experiences, public actions, and celebrations for people of diverse abilities, identities, and ages.

Ananya Dance Theater

Buniyaad/Foundation: Ananya Dance Theatre

  1. #Spinespin Dialogues: Emerging and established leaders from local communities of color participate in a series of conversations about movement and story sharing circles with our dancers. This exchange of stories, ideas, spinal extensions and breathwork, requiring participants to share time, space, and perspectives.
  2. Choreographing Identity Workshops: Women and girls from refugee, immigrant, and communities of color participate in a series of workshops to develop stories about themselves and articulate them through abstract movement.
  3. Summer Intensive Dance Training Classes: Students from Twin Cities communities of color participate in 45 hours of dance training based in Yorchha™, our contemporary Indian American dance technique, to build next generation artists and cultural activists.
  4. #Occupydance: Youth and community leaders drawn from the Dialogues and workshops participate in the concept of dancing as civic action at site-specific installations and performances.
  5. Audience Empowerment Workshop: People, drawn from #Spinespin Dialogues, past workshop participants, current audience members, and the general public, view and discuss, twice, two choreographed excerpts from an upcoming production. Attendees join dancers in movement to connect their visual and bodily encounters to their own experiences.

African Roots of Hip Hop: Destiny Arts Center

African Roots of Hip Hop: Destiny Arts Center

We selected “after;” however, African Roots of Hip Hop is a multi-stage engagement process that started a few weeks prior to the mainstage performance and ended with post-performance workshops within a month after the performances were complete. We also engaged audience members during the performances.

Urban Bush Women

Hair & Other Stories – Audience Engaged Version: Urban Bush Women

UBW conducted pre-engagement site visits with presenters and held meetings with local artists and community organizations weeks before the performance. For the Audience Engaged version of H&OS at the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans co-commissioned by the CACNO and Junebug Productions, UBW held Hair Parties (movement conversations between community members and UBW company members that feature excerpts from H&OS and discussions on race and gender), a post-show dance party, and worked with local artists to create a pre/post-show art installation that invited audiences to talk about the work, record their own Hair Stories in the Story Booth, see their real-time tweets broadcasted in the installation room as well as sing along with and listen to local artists hired to animate the installation room with songs, storytelling and a drum line. These activities allowed UBW to create an experience for audience members that included their voices and stories in the work.

Trans-Atlantic Time Traveling Company

Trans-Atlantic Time Traveling Company: Holly Bass|360

Our audience engagement is integrated into the performances, which took place most recently July 2018. In addition to the performance, my company also offers year-round art programming at a juvenile detention center in Washington DC. With the TATTCo performances, the main pre-show activity was the Cultural Preserves project in which we provide story prompts and ask audiences to contribute written responses. The responses are then collected inside mason jars, the same way one might store fruit preserves in a jar. The prompts addressed the passage of time, which related to theme of time travel present in the show.

Dearest Home Workshops

Dearest Home Workshops: A.I.M

We refined a workshop program used in the development of our work, DEAREST HOME (DH) whose subject matter is love, longing, and loss. For DH tours we created workshops, led by our dancers, that engaged members of the LGBTQ community through a rhizomatic approach by inviting them into DH’s subject matter through multiple artistic entryways: dialogue, movement, writing, music, and visual arts. One notable workshop activity is called “Mapping Monuments:” participants are guided through a visualization where they identify significant moments in their lives. They then process these memories creatively, draw maps on vellum or acetate paper, and create movement phrases from these maps. Going further, maps of two people are superimposed on one another and the participants create movement-based duets and conversations centered on and around the points of intersection. Other activities include typing love letters on vintage typewriters, writing love letters by-hand, & fashioning love mix-tapes and breakup playlists by using songs associated with the subject matter. 15-20 workshop participants are initially seated in a circle. Like the work itself, which is composed of a series of solos, duets, and trios, during the course of the workshop, participants are split into small groups of 3 and 4 in order to further the theme of intimacy.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo engages communities with educational programming as an extension of the work the company does onstage as a world class all-male comic ballet company, defying expectations and rearticulating absolutes when it comes to dance, ballet and gender. We offer year-round, sequential dance engagement activities that use classical ballet as the jumping off point for workshops specially designed for LGBTQ teens and seniors. The engagement program curricula offer a wide spectrum of expression – masculine to feminine; on-stage to off-stage; individual souls to grand public personas – steeped in an environment of growth and support, with a goal of leading the individual to realize more of the independent person they are meant to be.

Disability. Dance. Artistry.: Dance/NYC

Disability. Dance. Artistry.: Dance/NYC

The Disability. Dance. Artistry. Initiative aims to advance inclusion and access to the art form for disabled people. As a part of the initiative, Dance/NYC administered the Disability. Dance. Artistry. Fund, made possible by the generous support of the Ford Foundation, to generate dance making and performance by and with disabled artists in the New York City metropolitan area. The Fund support six integrated and disability dance productions by Heidi Latsky Dance, Dancing Wheels Company & School, Full Radius Dance, Jess Curtis and Claire Cunningham, AXIS Dance Company, and Alice Sheppard/Kinetic Light.

Forklift Danceworks

My Park, My Pool, My City: Forklift Danceworks

Through the co-creation of community-based performances at three different East Austin pools over three years (2017/2018/2019), My Park, My Pool, My City employs several community-based engagement strategies. For this project, we further honed Forklift’s time-intensive process of relationship building, active listening, and trust building within a community in order to engage more effectively with neighborhood residents. We hosted multiple pool parties at the neighborhood pool where our performances took place. We brought snacks, cold beverages and popsicles to connect with local pool users by sharing food together. We convened a Citizens Advisory Committee, which meets at least quarterly and is composed of community leaders and representatives of organizations specific to the neighborhood in which we’re working. As an extension of our Citizens Advisory Committee, we also hired Community Arts Youth Leaders—youth from the neighborhood who help publicize the project, collect stories, and run rehearsals. Both the Citizens Advisory Committee and Youth Leaders are crucial in facilitating introductions and connections for Forklift artists with the neighborhood community, building relationships through which we can collaborate to create a performance. Together, we gathered a cast of 20-50 residents and pool users—including many young children and older adults—in addition to lifeguards and maintenance staff. Many of our participants have not performed in or attended contemporary dance performance.

Young, Gifted and Black: A Transformative Experience

Young, Gifted and Black: A Transformative Experience (HBCU Initiative): Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (DCDC)

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s HBCU Initiative Young, Gifted, and Black: A Transformative Experience offers students exclusive access to unique artistry based in the African-American cultural experience through hands-on, engaging participation both in and out of the classroom. The goal of Young, Gifted, and Black is to enhance arts and culture exposure for a well-rounded HBCU graduate, celebrating the spirit of creativity and shaping the arts patron of tomorrow.

Sean Dorsey Dance

Generations Positive: Sean Dorsey Dance

Sean Dorsey Dance conducts our community engagement program Generations Positive as we tour and perform our full-evening work THE MISSING GENERATION. THE MISSING GENERATION gives voice to transgender and LGBTQ longtime survivors of the early AIDS epidemic. Dorsey created the work after recording 75 hours of oral history interviews with longtime transgender and LGBTQ survivors across the US, hosting community forums, and leading participatory self-expression workshops for multiple generations of trans and LGBTQ people.

Alabama Dance Council

Stories in Motion: Community Celebration Gatherings: Alabama Dance Council

The community gathering event needs to have a theme or purpose that shapes the community gathering content. In Alabama, we are celebrating different cultural perspectives and genres in dance using the themes of place, home, and community. We designed the program to share dance with different audience groups in a setting that is familiar to them (i.e., school, senior center, church, student center, gallery, city hall). The community gathering process involves seeing dance, talking about dance, and making dance in the safety of the shared community space. Sample scripts are available. The format typically includes:

Undesirable Element: Ping Chong & Company

Undesirable Element: Ping Chong & Company

Undesirable Elements is an ongoing series of community-specific interview-based theater works examining issues of culture and identity of individuals who are outsiders within their mainstream community. It’s not a traditional play or documentary-theater project performed by actors. Instead, Undesirable Elements is presented as a chamber piece of story-telling; a “seated opera for the spoken word” that exists as an open framework that can be tailored to suit the needs and issues facing any community. Each production is made with a local host organization and local participants. The development process includes an extended community residency during which Ping Chong + Company artists conduct intensive interviews with potential participants and get to know the issues and concerns facing that community. These interviews form the basis of a script that weaves cast members’ individual experiences together in a chronological narrative touching on both political and personal experiences. The script is performed by the interviewees themselves, many of whom have never before spoken publicly. Since 1992, there have been over 40 productions in the series. Originally, the shared trait between the performers was their experience of living between cultures. In recent years productions in the Undesirable Elements series have expanded thematically.

Dance for Social Change (DSC) Day of Action

Dance for Social Change (DSC) Day of Action (A Block Party With A Purpose): Dancing Grounds

We host the Day of Action / St. Claude Festival prior to the DSC performance premiere, where our teen dance company presents original work about a social justice theme they have selected. The goal of this event is to raise awareness about the theme explored in the performance and create ways for attendees to become active participants in the event. For example, last year, our young artists chose the theme, “Breaking Through the Stigmas of Mental Health.” We invited performance groups, dance teachers, healers, and local mental health providers to bring their resources and perspectives to the day.

Red Hook Fest Residency Program

Red Hook Fest Residency Program: Hook Arts Media, Inc. formerly Dance Theatre Etcetera

Our EDA program consisted of three dance residencies at three local nonprofit organizations. At each site Dance Instigators ( Hook Arts Media dance artists- Rajonna Lewis, Brittany Smith and two dance artists from Naomi Haas Goldberg’s Dances for a Variable Population) led a series of ten 2-hour workshops that combined movement warm ups, facilitated dialogue, story circles, the creations of original movement material to explore what each group thought about the concept of engaged citizenship. Each group had the option of performing at their site for their constituents and/or performing at the annual Red Hook Fest.

Samba in the Streets

Samba in the Streets

Samba in the Streets (SITS) Viver Brasil’s (VB) community engagement program, provides free Afro-Brazilian dance, music and song workshops to youth and adults. Throughout the program’s life, more than 750 mostly African American participants in Leimert Park, LA and over 10,000 mostly African American Participants across three Alabama counties which include Birmingham, Selma, and Lowndes. All workshops are taught by VB’s artistic directors and company members.

RACE: Talc & Ash Tailgate Party: Holly Bass

RACE: Talc & Ash Tailgate Party: Holly Bass|360

The RACE: Talc & Ash Tailgate party is modeled after traditional tailgate parties before sporting events, with the dance performance serving as the sporting event. The Tailgate Party is organized outdoors, near a pickup truck with its tailgate lowered. Lively music is played from the bed of the pickup truck. Food vendors share free snacks and drinks with the audience. The snacks can include cotton candy, snow-cones, Cracker-Jacks, popcorn, hot dogs, and more.

Community Discussion and Wood Burning Workshops: Holly Bass

Community Discussion and Wood Burning Workshops: Holly Bass|360

Holly Bass|360 hosted a series of workshops leading up to her RACE: Talc & Ash performance on July 10, 2016. At the workshops, long-time DC residents and newer residents met to discuss the changes they’ve observed during their time in the District, and to share things they wish the other group knew. Audio recordings of workshop participants’ observations are incorporated into the dance performance. New and long-time residents were then paired to create wood burned, decorative door signs with welcoming themes pulled from the group discussion and pair-sharing. Participants were encouraged to take their wood burned creations, decorative door signs, home with them to share with a neighbor or hang in their neighborhood.

Written in Water: Ragamala Dance Company

Written in Water: Ragamala Dance Company

Ragamala presented a series of engagement activities leading up to our work, Written in Water. At each activity, attendees played the 2nd century Indian board game of Paramapadam, a central inspiration for Written in Water. This hands-on experience provided audiences access to the abstract, conceptual nature of the Written in Water, and an entrée into the way Ragamala creates culturally hybridic dance works.

FishEyes: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre

FishEyes: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre

While The Fish is in residence, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre teaching artists lead site-specific dance workshops for neighborhood participants or local dance groups. During each workshop, the teaching artists explain the basics of site-specific dance and employ water themes as inspiration for movement. They lead guided improvisation on, in, and around The Fish, and teach participants how to create original movement inspired by ideas about their environment. Residencies may include a performance featuring Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre company members. Some performances are livestreamed via Periscope, depending on where the site is located and what technology support is available. Participants are encouraged to interact with the Fish, taking pictures and/or videos of themselves and sharing them on Instagram or other social media platforms.

Summer Leadership Institute: Urban Bush Women

Summer Leadership Institute: Urban Bush Women

For UBW, audience engagement is viewed through the lens of partnership, collaboration, and utilizing dance to create dialogue within the community in ways that will inform social change. This was exemplified in the SLI opening performance that was held at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans with a capacity audience of 250 people and live-streamed by HowlRound TV to a national online audience.

Cultural Scripts: Heritage Works

Cultural Scripts: Heritage Works

Cultural Scripts, a program of art and dialogue, engages people of Detroit and surrounding communities in exploration of cultural traditions, normalcy, identity, and empowerment. The program involves participatory process that engaged the Metropolitan Detroit community in cultural and identity exploration through three phases or components: dialogue (1), artwork creation/curation (2), and performance and talk backs (3).

Engagement Program: Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival

Engagement Program: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

The Pillow’s Audience Engagement Program offers extensive opportunities for audiences – a notable portion of which are introduced to dance for the first time here – as well as long-time dance lovers who wish to deepen their involvement with dance and the related arts. Our EDA project is sustaining our existing programs at the highest-possible level while also providing the following new and enhanced activities:

Freedom Cafe: Everett

Freedom Cafe: Everett

Everett’s cafés are a public research and development model that engage audiences during the company’s multi-year creation process. They have also been used as engagement events when the company is on tour, either in advance of performances or as a post-performance forum.

Sensory Friendly Nutcracker

Sensory Friendly Nutcracker

Cincinnati Ballet’s Sensory Friendly performance of “Frisch’s Presents the Nutcracker” was designed to engage children and adults with sensory sensitivities in the community tradition of the holiday themed Nutcracker ballet. In order to present this production in the safest manner for the intended audience, our Education & Outreach team engaged with stakeholders in the community and experts in the fields of health and wellness of sensory sensitive populations. Planning began a year previous to the performance, with a focus group of parents and experts review of our 2014-2015 “Frisch’s Presents the Nutcracker” to provide advice as to how best to adapt the performance and theater environment for populations that are diagnosed with developmental disabilities like autism, and Down syndrome. After this review, working with specialists from organizations like Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, special education instructors from Cincinnati Public Schools, Cincinnati Occupational Therapy Institute professionals, and parents, Cincinnati Ballet collaborated extensively in order to design the project, implement it on performance day, and evaluate the successes and challenges as they occurred.

Community Renewal Event: FirstWorks

Community Renewal Event: FirstWorks

FirstWorks Community Renewal Events involve food, conversation, and a series of short performances center around a dance and offered in the spirit of a gift. Doors open at 5:30PM; dinner starts at 6 PM; performance starts at 7:15 PM; dessert, coffee, and conversation will follow the performance. FirstWorks invites a community venue to partner as “host” , asks a community leader to be the master of ceremonies helping to share intent and create the space within which the group receives performances. We curate 3-6 local performers- some dance artists, spoken word performers, musicians – to perform as well as the guest artist. The evening begins with breaking bread together and a social time to catch up, be introduced, and create a convivial atmosphere. Depending on the space we create a bridge to the performance aspect of the evening through a musical call and walk into the theatre. All of this – food, performance – set the stage for what has been the most profound and moving aspect of our Community Renewal Events: the conversations, often deeply personal, about art, community, our lives, meaning, and the possibility of transformation. The term Community Renewal has been used for years by Urban Bush Women, the dance company that was featured through an EDA-funded residency at First Works.

Community Choreographic Laboratories

Community Choreographic Laboratories (“Labs”): CONTRA TIEMPO

When Lab participants arrive on site, the Artistic Director (serving in the capacity as facilitator) introduces the company and gives a brief history of our work and what we’ll be doing in the session. We let them know where we are in the creative process, and what we would like them to pay close attention to as they watch, if there’s anything we’re struggling with or need particular feedback on.

Tap Treasures: American Tap Dance Foundation

Tap Treasures: American Tap Dance Foundation

“Tap Treasures” takes place during Tap City, the annual New York City Tap Festival. It provides opportunities for participants to learn about and experience Tap’s history in its birthplace, New York City. During the Tap City festival, events take place in locations related to the development and evolution of the form (e.g., 5 Points District, Apollo Theater, 42nd Street, the Cotton Club, Woodpeckers Tap Dance Center, Radio City, American Tap Dance Center, etc.), and which are hosted and presented by iconic Tap figures (e.g., Brenda Bufalino, Tommy Tune, Mercedes Ellington, Randy Skinner, Mable Lee and Maurice Hines). These “storytellers” (many who are ATDF Board members) share their personal relationship to Tap Dance history in NYC, and present historic and related information through interactive discussions, films, classes or performance.

Stomping Grounds: Chicago Human Rhythm Project

Stomping Grounds: Chicago Human Rhythm Project

The 2016 Stomping Grounds festival featured six dance/drumming companies (American tap, African, Asian, Irish, Mexican, Spanish) in performance, education, and outreach events. For each of six free performalogues, three partner companies performed, with one company serving as the event’s host (a rotating responsibility that included additional performance time during the 75-minute program). The Chicago Rhythm Fest finale concert featured all festival companies, and a $15 “neighborhood/family” ticket was introduced to ensure accessibility to all (ticket revenue increased by 30% over 2015). Featured ensembles included BAM!; Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater; Mexican Folkloric Dance Company; Muntu Dance Theatre; Trinity Irish Dance Company; and Tsukasa Taiko (Japanese dance/drumming traditions). Through education and outreach programming, young people experienced professional dance first-hand both in-school and within the community. CHRP presented 14 lecture-demonstrations (”We All Got Rhythm”) and 70 master classes. School programs featured dance artists from the festival’s core companies, plus Kalapriya (Indian) and Movement Revolution (a Chicago hip-hop company).

Breakfast Download Discussions: UMS

Breakfast Download Discussions: UMS

We host “Breakfast Download Discussions” typically on Sunday mornings after a performance run by a particular company. The intention is to create space for any audience member who has seen a company during the week to join in a facilitated experience that leverages both simple movement exercises and discussion prompts. The experience is co-moderated by two local teaching artists who lead the group through a pre-planned series of activities that guide the group in experimenting with thick description, interpretation, and kinesthetic learning. Typically this is not an artist-focused event, though artists sometimes do participate in the guided activities along with audience members (but it is important that visiting artists understand that the teaching artists are “in charge.”) The facilitation design is such that audience members are encouraged to reflect freely on the performance with other audience members. We moved the program to Sunday morning because, in previous years, we found that hosting debrief sessions immediately after the performances made the entire evening very long and most of our audience members were not willing to commit to a longer evening. The previous iteration of this program (from EDA Round 2) was called “Dance Club.” The “Breakfast Download” concept was an attempt to iterate the “Dance Club” model of facilitated conversation after dance performances.

Engagement Events: Dance Theater Etcetera

Engagement Events: Dance Theater Etcetera

DTE produces two major dance events annually. Leading up to these events, depending on available resources, we schedule activities that bring audiences and artists together. They can take the form of workshops for our senior citizens, for participants in a support group for single parents, the staff of our local community justice center, community leaders dinners, participatory DJ dance parties with previews of artists’ works in progress or short performances at established community events such as Night Out Against Crime or the annual Old Timers Day that is time for reuniting friends and

Seeds Along the Roadside: Keshet Dance Company

Seeds Along the Roadside: Keshet Dance Company

Keshet’s audience engagement philosophy is heavily focused on an in-depth community relationship approach engaging the full family, the fully community and meeting each community where they are, both geographically, and also where they are in terms of familiarity with dance experiences. In expanding and engaging audiences throughout the region we found that vocabulary was an important element of our outreach – how do we define dance, ability, audiences, etc.

Bandaloop Experience Exposed

Bandaloop Experience Exposed: BANDALOOP

The three parts of our programming are described below.
Immersion Workshop: Our vertical dance immersion workshops begin with a shared question – what do we hope to get out of this experience? Framing the beginning with an open ended, collaborative question allows the group to move beyond the limiting model of a predetermined agenda and into shared creative agency designed to consciously address our lack of awareness regarding educational or engagement models that perpetuate cycles or systems of social inequity in our programming.
This initial question is followed by a guided session designed to encourage exploration of Bandaloop’s culture of safety with an emphasis on interpersonal safety – highlighting interdependency and trust as we move into the unknown and become disoriented. How can we trust our bodies and one another while solving complex movement tasks and keeping one another and ourselves safe? We then launch into a period of collaborative dance making – including technical training with the gear as a means to facilitate new movement vocabulary dancing and expressive opportunity. We close the workshop with a group sharing and discussion, with each person sharing their experience in response to pointed questions.

Classically Black Salons

Classically Black Salons: 651 ARTS

Our Salon Series was held in intimate venue with a capacity of 50 people or less. In addition to the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts space, we held one event in a private home. The space configuration varied from chairs place in a circle to a typical panel format with guest seated in front looking out into the audience. The series was intimate by designed and encouraged by the curator, Jaamil Kosoko who felt small settings would encourage deeper and more complex discussions. As the curator Jaaamil served as the moderator for each session either by simply introducing the artist or engaging in a discussion with prepared questions. For one event we had a guest moderator who led the conversation among a group of 6 panel members. The intimate allowed for spontaneous audience participation and was not relegated last few minutes of the conversation. Guest felt safe enough to interject during the conversation by raising their hands, making a facial expression that was acknowledged by a panel member or signifying agreement of disagreement with a sound. However, we always allowed 10-15 minutes for a Q&A. Substantial refreshments were provided before the start of the session and again at the end. Knowing that some guest would attend without the benefit of having dinner, it was important to offer a combination of finger foods and beverages. Guest lingered as long as the space was available. Usually we had to ask them to leave because the building operations person needed to close the space. The event held in the private home was the most informal; Each guest was asked to introduce themselves and the conversation was fluid and porous, resembling a dinner conversation.

IS Dance Company Disability Arts Residency

AXIS Dance Company Disability Arts Residency: Ware Center

This multi-faceted residency begin with a free 11/20 evening screening of the documentary film INVITATION TO DANCE which features the AXIS company. Filmmaker Simi Linton joined the AXIS dancers and, via Skype, artistic director Judith Smith, for a post-screening panel discussion hosted by Suzanne Callahan. The following day, two free workshops were conducted by the dancers. The first was held in the morning at the Lebanon VA Medical Center for “Wounded Warriors” served by that facility and featured a performed excerpt from the dance “To Go Again” that would be featured in the performance and was built on the stories of veterans and their families. The second free workshop offered that afternoon on the university campus was intended for anyone in the community interested in AXIS’ processes of creating physically-integrated dance. The final day of the residency featured a free pre-performance lecture by Millersville Professor Dr. Thomas Neuville on “Disability and the Arts” as part of our ongoing “Perspectives” series. The performance itself featured both ASL interpretation and audio-description, and was followed by two talk-backs, one with the general audience of the performance and then a less formal one with students from an area arts magnet school. Various evaluative measures were taken throughout the residency and will be discussed in further responses.

Dance Center of Columbia College

Audience Engagement During Dance Presenting Series: Dance Center of Columbia College

Our goals with the EDA grant revolved primarily around building and sustaining relationships with communities and artists of color. We have a long history of diverse programming, but embracing this as a specific and deeply-held organizational value is new. The specific initiatives focused around three presentations: Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Urban Bush Women, and Michael Sakamoto/Rennie Harris. Through work with the artists, our students, and several community-based partners including Red Clay Dance, Jones Prep High School, Kennedy-King Prep High School, and Global Girls, we designed and delivered a mix of residency activities in a number of South Side communities as well as providing free or deeply discounted tickets for young people who in many cases had never been to a formal dance concert. Each week-long residency was customized in partnership with these community organizations, the guest artists, and our resident faculty at The Dance Center. Activities included dance classes, Black Girl Spectrum workshops (Camille A. Brown & Dancers), experimental dance events (Urban Bush Women), an extended butoh workshop (Michael Sakamoto), student performances (Rennie Harris), plus pre- and post-performance talks, interactions with local dance artists and students, teaching in the Chicago Park District, and interconnections with entities in the local hip hop community.

Black Girl Spectrum (BGS): Camille A Brown and Dancers

Black Girl Spectrum (BGS): Camille A Brown and Dancers

Founded in 2014, Black Girl Spectrum (BGS) is a multi-faceted community engagement initiative that explores the spectrum of identities among Black girls and women while working to create safe spaces for them to live as creative citizens.The initiative seeks to amplify the cultural and creative empowerment of Black girls and women through dance, dialogue, and popular education tools.

Wesleyan DanceLink Fellowship

DanceLink Fellowship Program: Wesleyan University Center for the Arts

Wesleyan students interned with three professional dance companies during the summer, and then served as ambassadors for the companies when they were presented on campus during the 2013–2014 Breaking Ground Dance Series.

Wesleyan Dine Dance Discover

Dine/Dance/Discover: Wesleyan University Center for the Arts

Twenty-four individuals have the opportunity to attend a forty-five minute movement workshop at 5:30PM, a catered dinner and guided discussion about the visiting artist at 6:30PM, the performance at 8:00PM, and a post-performance discussion facilitated by a Wesleyan Dance Department faculty member with refreshments, including dessert and coffee. An important part of the program was to experiment with ways for audience members to connect kinesthetically with the performance. The movement workshops were facilitated by a faculty member from Wesleyan’s Dance Department who researched the artist and movement that would be seen in the performance and created a movement “lesson” that could be done by all workshop participants, even the novice. Those who were uncomfortable moving could still participate through other creative activities.

Pillow Seeing Dance

“Seeing Dance, Talking Dance”: Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival

In 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival launched “Seeing Dance, Talking Dance”, a multiple touch point initiative designed to stimulate and support meaningful peer-to-peer conversations among audiences about dance. “Seeing Dance, Talking Dance” is comprised of a new series of engagement activities that inspire a culture of curiosity about dance and support co-learning and communication about the art form among like and differently-minded people. Four elements comprise the initiative:

DANCECleaveland DAT

Creating a Dance Advance Team: DANCECleveland

Who: The Dance Advance Team is a group of dancers, dance educators and choreographers who acted as ambassadors to explore new ways of communicating with dance novices about live performance, primarily for DANCECleveland’s 2013-2014 dance performance series. This group of individuals acted as co-creators and an invaluable brain trust for exploring these new entry points of communication to engage new dance audiences. The group enthusiastically joined this initiative, in part, to be able to use the lessons learned through this process to advance their own work and performances and to begin to explore ways of making information about dance and performances available and accessible to a broad range of individuals.

Duckler Congregated Chats

CONGREGATED CHATS: Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre

CONGREGATED CHATS are organized remote audience events, or ‘engaged viewing parties,’ where participating individuals experience the Q&A during the live stream of a performance. The simultaneity of the program invites audience members at both locations – the actual performance site and the CONGREGATED CHAT – to engage in an expanded experience with the performing arts and their communities. Site-specific dance company, Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre, explored this event format during the Engaging Dance Audiences Program, Round Two. Titled From Time to Time…At the Oasis, the engagement project brought a travelling, site-specific performance created for a 1961 Oasis trailer to four California State University campuses. While the live performance was occurring on one campus with Artistic Director Heidi Duckler and the four cast members, Managing Director Emily Wanserski concurrently hosted a CONGREGATED CHAT at the previous campus on the journey.

UMS Night School

UMS Night School: Bodies in Motion: University Musical Society (UMS)

The curriculum for these 90-minute “classes” combine conversation, interactive exercises, and “lectures” with genre experts to draw participants into the themes behind each performance. Sessions are designed to both deepen knowledge of the performing arts and connect audience members with similar interests to each other. This series of UMS Night School focused on how movement gives us ways to think about watching dance—and other performances. The class is “hosted” by a faculty member from the dance department; the host is a consistent presence and facilitator for the nine-week series. The host invites “expert” guests to visit the class as appropriate. The sessions are structured such that the first 30 minutes are spent discussing the performance that participants have just attended (usually the prior weekend) and the last hour is used to prepare for the next performance. Each class begins with a movement exercise. The first movement exercise usually involves recitation of names along with a gesture (to build community and get people warmed up); the second exercise is a movement response to the performance participants have recently attended. The course utilized dance performances, a theater performance, an orchestral performance, and dance-on-camera as source material. Specific effort is spent on creating a sense of belonging and community; each member receives a plastic lanyard name tag after their first registration; attendance is taken before each class; class members are contacted by email after each session with follow up material and reminded of the next class; a nominal ticket discount is offered for associated performances. The atmosphere is casual, conversational, and interactive; participants sit in a semi-circle and there is an adjacent space for movement exercises. The expectation is set early on that Night School is participatory in nature (rather than a lecture style, passive listening experience). The series culminates in a graduation night where special guests are invited back, and learners are asked to synthesize their insights from the entire series. We give away “perfect attendance” awards (usually a gift certificate for a local restaurant) (and typically only 2 or 3 people achieve perfect attendance, so it should be a really nice reward!). For graduation we provide catering, light snacks, wine, and soft drinks, and create space for socializing and networking. Along with Night School, we created a “UMS Adventure Card” that allowed participants to receive stamps for participating other dance-related activities outside of Night School (such as the UMS You Can Dance program). For every four stamps received, participants received an entry into a raffle to meet a dance artist in the coming season.

UMS You Can Dance

You Can Dance: University Musical Society (UMS)

UMS contracts with a dancer or choreographer from the visiting company to lead a community workshop. The workshop is usually held one or two days before the opening of the performance. Part of the allure of the program is that opportunity to meet and interact with a visiting artist. Our goal with these classes is to deliver movement experiences along with some of the philosophies of the visiting company and the style features of the company’s work. The most successful workshops deliver both movement experimentation and learning about the company. The teacher will need to quickly assess ability levels; often we ask at the beginning of class (by show of hands) who has dance experience and who doesn’t. The environment should be comfortable for a participant who wouldn’t necessarily have a dance vocabulary. Visiting artists are provided a prep sheet (attached) that describes the program and its goals. We always reiterate our goals with the workshop leader when they arrive in Ann Arbor. Most classes begin with an extended warm-up that introduces participants to some of the movement styles of the company. We’ve found that participants learn a lot about a particular dance company, dance style, or choreographer by “warming up” in the style of the company. We encourage the workshop leader to teach the participants a short passage of choreography from the work that is being presented in Ann Arbor; it’s a great way for learners to inhabit the movement and really appreciate the craft and technique involved. We have also found that this exercise prepares participants to watch the performance and creates a sense of recognition when they see the movement performed by the company. We recommend that whoever teaches this class leaves about 10-15 minutes at the end for questions and reflection. Class is conducted with recorded music (we have an iPod connection, as well as a CD player). [Past workshops have included dancers from Kidd Pivot, Mark Morris Dance Group, Martha Graham Dance Company, Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Ragamala Dance, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Ballet Preljocaj, Compagnie Kafig.]

Petronio Input Output

Input/Output: Stephen Petronio Company

Input / Output is conceived as a dynamic, ever-evolving interactive hub for all past, present and future constituents of the extended Petronio universe. Social media capabilities are embedded throughout the site including a blog with Facebook-powered comments, intimate videos by Blake Martin, and a “social stream” aggregating all Petronio social content. Visitors can socialize with past and present members of Team Petronio – dancers, administrators, collaborators, presenting partners – by engaging in ongoing conversations before, during and after the shows.

Make Dance Stick with You

Make Dance Stick With You (MDSWY): DANCECleveland

Make Dance Stick With you is an audience engagement program focused on being a catalyst to ignite conversation during and after a performance. Each audience member receives a sticky note attached to their program, with one of the following prompts on them, “What stuck with you?” or “In 3 words I saw…” Audience members can participate at will. There is a space designated in the lobby for audience members to attach their notes to. Following the performance, online conversations are influenced by the content shared via the sticky notes on social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The program is intentionally branded to be easily identified and to encourage participation.

Joyce Going to the Dance

GETTING CLOSER TO DANCE: Going to the Dance; and That’s a Rap: The Joyce Theater

GETTING CLOSER TO DANCE: Going to the Dance; and That’s A Rap are performance events followed by facilitated discussions. They are part of a series of three interrelated activities providing audience members with opportunities to more fully experience and understand dance. The activities equip audiences with “tools” to unlock the meanings found in what they see on stage. Participants practice describing what they see, analyzing and interpreting throughout the process.

Joyce Getting Closer to Dance

GETTING CLOSER TO DANCE: Your Dance Score: The Joyce Theater

Two workshops for up to 15 participants are led by TAs. The workshop opened with a continental breakfast and refreshments. In each workshop participants explore and work with the material of dance and create dance scores to be performed by professional dancers. A group of five dancers serve as demonstrators/ performers.

STREB Risky Talking


RISKY TALKING, a platform for investigating the possibilities and impact of dance as seen through the prisms of politics, urban development, cultural history, architecture, engineering, design, media, science, social anthropology and the arts. RISKY TALKING events are evening gatherings at SLAM curated by Laura Flanders and serve as a portal for engaging new audiences through discussion, debate and “doing.” The elements of each conversation differ and may include moderated discussions, performance, screenings as well as action experimentation by participants – an opportunity to engage personally with STREB company members while learning STREB technique and experimenting on company equipment.

STREB Pop Up Slam

Pop Up SLAM : STREB Inc.

Pop Up SLAM, a mechanism to transmute the spirit, essence and action landscape of SLAM into roving, adaptable action zones which can occupy a myriad of public spaces — parks, vacant lots, parking lots, commercial properties such as sound stages, stores and malls. STREB works collaboratively with partners to embed innovative programming – performances, classes, “happenings” — in expected and unexpected places.

PNB Family Day at PNB

Family Day at PNB: Pacific Northwest Ballet

Family Day at PNB is an in-studio sharing opportunity for students that participate in PNB’s DISCOVER DANCE in-school residencies. The event takes place on a Saturday, in PNB’s largest, black-box, studio. Students from the residency program meet in the studio with their teaching artist and classroom teachers and rehearse for 30 minutes. During this time, family members (adults and siblings) have the opportunity to see costumes up close in one room, view dance videos/slideshow in another, or participate in a dance obstacle course in a third room. Each room is manned by a PNB teaching artist who facilitates learning opportunities.

PNB Family Day

Family Day at the Ballet: Pacific Northwest Ballet

Family Day at the Ballet is a combination of backstage tours and low-price tickets for families of students that participate in PNB DISCOVER DANCE Residencies. Students from DISCOVER DANCE schools are given invitations to share with their families, which include a discount code for tickets ($5 per child, $10 per adult) to a regular repertory performance. Before the performance families are given a backstage tour to see the behind-the-scenes elements of a ballet production. The 45-minute tour includes three stations, lasting 15 minutes each: front of house (history of the production and basic background information), stage right (meeting the stage manager and looking at rigging), stage left (meeting sound technicians, viewing set pieces, viewing/chatting with dancers as they warm up). The families then attend the ballet and have a chance to talk with staff at intermission.


AXIS Explored: AXIS Dance Company

AXIS Explored is a selection of targeted engagement opportunities surrounding the creation and presentation of our work. For an $80 subscription, AXIS Explorers gained admittance to the following activities:

Gibney DanCentricity

DANCentricity: Gibney Dance

DANCentricity invites high school students to explore the creative process by learning about and actively engaging with a professional choreographer. A Cycle of interrelated workshops center around the premiere of the choreographer’s latest work and are led by a teaching artist known as the “Animateur.” The Cycle is comprised of four workshop experiences for the students:

VPL Performance Club

VPL Performance Club: Vermont Performance Lab

The VPL Performance Club, based on the traditional book club, pioneers a model for engaging non-urban audiences with contemporary dance. The project build strong conceptual, social and aesthetic frameworks live performances that Club members will see together as a group over the course of a season. The project tapped into the offerings of VPL’s Lab Program and artists and a constellation of contemporary dance presenters within a 90-mile radius of VPL’s home base in Guilford, Vermont. The Performance Club was co-directed by VPL’s Director Sara Coffey and choreographer and dance educator Candice Salyers. Salyers with a PhD in philosophy and dance complemented Coffey’s background in performance studies and dance history.

Pentacle Metro STEP

Metro STEP: Supplying a Team Engagement Process: Pentacle

Pentacle’s unique position as a not-for-profit organization that represents dance companies in the marketplace has allowed it to explore creative and outside-the-box ways for presenters and artists to have more successful experiences with their audiences. Metro STEP brings a fresh approach to booking dance by having Pentacle’s artist representatives collaborate with presenters to more fully engage and expand their audiences during the performances and residencies of Pentacle’s Metro Intersections’ Artists. Inspired by EDA Round One Projects, Pentacle adapted and created materials that presenters could use to strengthen their audiences’ experience and to widen the scope and breadth of their audiences. Pentacle also provided technical assistance and staff guidance to presenters towards creating and implementing engagement activities unique to their venues and potential audience pools.

PICA Field Guide

Field Guide to Dance: Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)

Field Guide to Dance is a public engagement and education program encompassing a series of pre-performance workshops and post-performance downloads that aim to increase comfort with and confidence in watching, thinking, and talking about contemporary dance among audiences who are new to the form. As a multidisciplinary institution, PICA also seeks to cross-pollinate viewership through Field Guide, particularly by engaging visual artists/audiences in dance.

Bandaloop Experience


The BANDALOOP Experience is a half-day workshop designed to introduce participants to our unique form of dancing in the air. We engage the participants in a creative process that inspires connection, innovation in problem solving and risk management. It challenges participants to transcend their preconceived physical and expressive limitations, mine the body for creativity and collaboratively compose movement in flight to solve compositional challenges. Before the event, the participants will be sent a video that inspires and engages them with BANDALOOP imagery, techniques and culture in order to generate creative momentum for their upcoming BANDALOOP Experience.

Audience Architects Dance is What YOU make of it

Dance Is…What YOU Make of It: Audience Architects

This 14-part video series is intended to teach / show new dance audiences how to view / watch dance, and demonstrate some of the ways that people, especially non-dance audiences, think and talk about the art form. The aim is to de-mystify dance and validate multiple points of view. Hopefully through this we can help new audiences appreciate and understand that you don’t necessarily have to “understand” dance to enjoy it. Our volunteer video participants (15 people, from all ages and walks of life, from a middle school student to an attorney) came together for an afternoon in a theater, and with guidance and production support from a highly skilled video team, HMS Media, watched a variety of high definition Chicago dance clips and responded to what they liked (and didn’t like) in what they saw, how the movement/choreography made them feel, what they wish they knew or what would help them connect with the work, etc. They were guided in conversation by the executive producer of the video company, who was highly knowledgeable of each of the clips and the performing companies, and asked gently prodding and provoking questions of our volunteer participants while they watched each of the clips. The resulting clips provide an overview of responses.

Dance A Moving Campus

Dance: A Moving Canvas: Audience Architects

Moving Canvas is a highlight component of our EDA programming, and take place four times per year in the Chicago Artist Coalition art gallery. Moving Canvas events cross pollinate and engage dance and visual art audiences and artists to explore and understand the commonalities and unique aspects of each art form in an intimate, moderated, and highly participatory setting. For the series, Audience Architects (AA) is bolstered by supporting business partnerships with the Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC), and the Arts & Business Council of Chicago (A&BC), and FlySpace, serving as lead choreographic collaborator. Working with our partner organizations, we targeted their members (who are culturally supportive, but are not dance patrons) to attend these events, hoping to introduce them to the magic of dance by allowing them, and through moderated discussion, encourage them to engage with the choreography.

The X Process Conversations

The X-Process: Conversations with the Artists : BalletX

Conversations with the Artists is a pre-show Q&A discussion with BalletX’s guest choreographers and artistic directors that is moderated by a leading dance critic. As an outsider to BalletX, the dance critic directs the conversation by asking questions of all parties that reveal the creative and curatorial decisions behind the works on the evening’s performance. Held in the theater lobby, the conversation engages all audience members as they arrive for the performance. Audience members have the opportunity to ask them their own questions of the artistic panel as well.

The X-Process A Pie, A Pint, The Process

The X-Process: A Pie, A Pint & The Process: BalletX

A Pie, A Pint & The Process is an interactive lecture series over pizza and beer that falls between BalletX’s Saturday matinee (2pm) and evening (8pm) performances. The program is designed to provide audiences with introductory Dance 101 knowledge in an effort to help them appreciate the relationship between classical and contemporary ballet. During the 2013-2014 Season, BalletX divided this topic into three parts defined by perspectives: (1) how the audience perceives (history, styles, etc.), (2) how the dancer trains and performs (training, lifestyle, etc.), and (3) how the choreographer prepares and creates (inspiration, career, etc.). Each lecture is moderated by a leader dance critic and features special dancer/director/choreographer guests from the Philadelphia dance community. A video of the lecture is made available on the BalletX website and social media.

The X Process Post

The X-Process: Post Your Thoughts: BalletX

During the course of each BalletX performance series, audiences are encouraged to respond to two prompts on a communal bulletin board in the theater lobby. These prompts have included: “Tell us what you thought in 6 words or less” and “Pose a question to BalletX” for Fall Series 2013 and “Tell us what you love about BalletX” and “What questions do you have about the performance?” for Winter Series 2014. In order to incentivize participation, BalletX offered cookies on tables beside the boards.

Dance Up Close Dance Enthusiast

Dance Up Close: The Dance Enthusiast

Dance Up Close is a web-based project designed to reveal the choreographic process to an online audience. We go behind the scenes to show artists as people our audiences can relate to, rather than abstract figures on stage. Anyone, anywhere in the world, at anytime of day, can feel as if they are in the studio with a dance company speaking directly to an artist.

Opening Acts Cowles

Opening Acts

The Cowles Center and its consortium partners (ARENA Dances, Black Label Movement, James Sewell Ballet, Minnesota Dance Theatre, Ragamala Dance, Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theater, Zenon Dance Company, and Zorongo Flamenco) believe that the most loyal and sophisticated dance audience is one that is fully engaged with the field at large and can enjoy multiple types, genres, and companies. The consortium at Cowles has been developing collaborative strategies in management, marketing, and performance.

Yerba Buena Dance Savvy

Dance Savvy

With EDA support, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco created the pilot program Dance Savvy to build understanding of contemporary dance for a target audience of YBCA’s visual arts and film/video patrons. This free educational program, based on YBCA’s visual arts program Art Savvy, is designed to encourage cross-disciplinary participation and to increase dance literacy. Dance Savvy uses Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) as its central methodology. VTS fosters engagement through extended observation and inquiry-based curriculums. Also incorporated were social interactions and context from artists, as well as a kinetic learning element. Dance Savvy had two main components, which were accompanied by performances:

STREB Slam Remote

SLAM Remote

As background, dance companies are beginning to stream live performances to reach more audiences. While streaming captures the visual aspects of a dance performance, it fails to portray other important elements—interaction between dancers and audiences, physical participation, or even just the heightened sense of excitement and atmosphere of being at a live event.

On the Boards

On the Boards (OtBtv), is first-of-its-kind website offering high quality full-length videos of contemporary performances, through both streaming and download, via a range of fee-based options. Inspired by interactions they saw on podcasts and blogs, On the Boards invested in recording the artists appearing on its season in high definition and hopes to use its new video platform to expand what they see as audience’s burgeoning interest in mediated viewing experiences. By reaching dance enthusiasts who are a remote audience or are inhibited by busy schedules, OtBtv seeks to draw them into a network of artistic dialogue and ultimately inspire them to attend live performances in the future. Each of the videos appears alongside background information on the artist and work post-performance, with blogs, to build knowledge and spark conversation. Striving to be the equivalent of a museum catalogue for dance, OtB filmed, edited and uploaded nine new dance films, along with accompanying content to provide context, though interviews, research and essays. OtB splits the fee with artists for their content. On the Boards (OtB) explores answers to some of the big questions facing contemporary dance: How would audiences’ experience and engagement level differ during live performance when compared to online viewing? On a more practical level, will audiences pay to view dance online and how will they respond to different subscription and purchasing options? How would copyright laws apply to online dance content? How might artists benefit financially from sharing their dances online?

ODC I Speak Dance

I Speak Dance

ODC, based in San Francisco, has developed I Speak Dance to introduce 18-25 year old college students to the world of dance. It aims to cultivate fluency and life-long interest in dance among a young adult audience. This portable mini-curriculum uses Web 2.0 technology, interactive workshops, and performances to give students exposure to live, high-quality professional experiences with the art form. With ODC, each university completes four elements:


Walker Recipe 12: Program Notes

For every dance show, we have paper programs that give cast and crew information, and often biographies and statements of the artists involved that audience members can reference pre-performance to learn about the performance. Though program notes are important, see the mixed experiences we have had with this strategy, which are described below and may be of interest to others considering it.


Walker Recipe 11: Ticket Buyer Emails

Targeted Ticket Buyer emails provide information, either immediately after the audience members bought tickets to a dance show or after they attended the performance. Pre-show emails include links to discounted tickets for other upcoming shows, links to blogs, articles, video footage and audio podcasts. Post-show emails include similar links to reviews, articles, pertinent content on the Walker Channel, information about upcoming shows, discounted ticket offers, surveys, or a link to the Walker blogs with the byline: “Join the conversation.” These emails point people back to the Walker blog, where they can add their comments. See the mixed experiences we had with this strategy, which are described below and may be of interest to others considering it.

Walker 10 A Think & A Drink

Walker Recipe 10: A Think & A Drink

A Think & A Drink is a social gathering for a self-selected group of Walker members after gallery hours that involves a guided exhibition tour pre-performance. Most often these events link exhibition themes and visual art with the performing artists onstage. A Think & A Drink is an exclusive member event, limited in size, with the chance to view art and then talk and discuss over drinks and refreshments.


Walker Recipe 9: Dance Blogs

The Walker’s performing arts blog provides contextual and promotional information about Walker dance shows. The blog serves as an immediate communication platform tool to get the word out about behind the scenes aspects of the art or alerts for a call to action (The Walker’s shows often entail local participation). Each blog post ideally presents a thoughtful, sustained viewpoint on a dance show or artist whose work is connected to the Walker’s past, present, or future presenting history, yet with content separate from the material covered by marketing efforts. Besides the more constant voice of the performing arts interns and staff, many guest bloggers contribute preview and review articles, or other additional dance-related news and topics. Our blog posts are about 400 words on average.

Walker Talking Dance

Walker Recipe 8: Talking Dance Lectures

The Walker’s Talking Dance lectures are conversations led by a facilitator, open to the public, where choreographers/dance artists speak about their work, in dialogue with a scholar or expert staff member. The name “Talking Dance” is meant to brand the lecture series and contextualize the lecture around choreographers. The lecture is followed by a Q&A with the audience. Talking Dance lectures differ from post-show Q&As because of their extended length, use of other materials such as audio/video, and thorough attention to a dance artist (often their entire career). Each Talking Dance lecture is videotaped and archived on the Walker Channel, YouTube, and iTunesU for free viewing.


Walker Recipe 7: Walker Dance Commissions on Archive

Basic information about dance commissions throughout our presenting history are archived online on the Walker website. Rudimentary “tombstone” information, with a photo and links to blogs and/or a commission’s online calendar page, currently makes up each entry.

Walker Dance Trailers

Walker Recipe 6: Dance Trailers

Dance trailers mix excerpts from the Walker’s video interviews with performance footage to create short, promotional videos about a specific work. The existing interview and performance documentation needs to be reviewed and edited in cooperation with videography staff or freelance editors. The segments with the most impact should be chosen and the artist needs to approve the final product. Like the Walker’s video interviews, the dance trailers are then archived onto the Walker Channel, social media such as YouTube, and iTunesU.

Walker Video Interviews

Walker Recipe 5: Video Interviews

Video interviews with artists are archived on the Walker Channel and are available to stream or download. Our videotaped interviews usually take the form of curatorial conversations between visiting artists and the Walker’s programming staff, without a live audience. The in-depth perspective of curatorial conversations allows audiences to learn about the creative process and insider experience of a piece. These interviews provide a way for audiences to hear from the dance artists directly when they often wouldn’t have a chance to see or hear them speak about their work otherwise. Audiences can deepen their understanding of a particular artist or the context around a specific work, pre-performance or post-performance of that artist’s presentation. They are an asset to the artist and the field and will continue to be an important part of Walker archives in perpetuity.

Walker Talk Dance Podcasts

Walker Recipe 4: Talk Dance Podcasts

Talk Dance podcasts are audio interviews between a selected artist (or our curator) and the Talk Dance host, a local choreographer. A choreographer was hired to schedule, host, record, and edit a final digital version of an interview with every guest choreographer who presented work at the Walker during the EDA grant period, or the if the choreographer was not available for an interview, the Performing Arts Senior Curator was interviewed about that choreographer and the specific work to be presented. These podcasts were broken up by time cues into shorter, more digestible segments and indexed by topic. They were then archived and made viewable from the Walker Channel, social media such as YouTube, and iTunes U and can be accessed by the public and remote audiences in perpetuity.

Walker Speakeasy

Walker Recipe 3: SpeakEasy

SpeakEasys are informal gatherings after our Saturday-night dance performances where audience members can discuss a performance together in a non-intimidating bar setting.The interactive conversation is facilitated by a local choreographer and a Walker visual arts tour guide who draw on their respective trainings in dance and visual arts. The artist is not present, which we have found allows audience members to express their range of reactions and questions about the performance.

Walker Post Show Q&A

Walker Recipe 2: Post Show Q & A

Every Friday night after a dance performance at the Walker, the artists return to the stage after their curtain call for an interactive question and answer session with either a member of the Walker’s performing arts program staff or a guest interviewer from the local arts community. This moderator from the local arts community is often a dancer, curator, or writer. The Q&A session starts with a few questions from the moderator then opens up to include questions from the audience.


Walker Recipe 1: Opening Night Reception

The Walker’s Thursday night receptions provide audiences intimate, interactive, one-on-one access to artists. These receptions differ from the post-show Q&As, where the audience does not typically mingle with the artists, or the Saturday night SpeakEasys, where the audience discusses a piece and its meanings separate from the influence of the artists. And, unlike A Think and A Drink, this is not an exclusive gathering for members only. After Thursday night performances, the choreographer, cast and crew join the audience in our informal Balcony Bar (literally a makeshift bar set up in the theater’s upper balcony) to celebrate opening night together. (Note: see other records in this EDA database to learn about these other events hosted by Walker.)
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